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UK and Chile signed a five year Antarctica Cooperation Agreement

Tuesday, December 12th 2023 - 10:44 UTC
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The Letter of Intent ensures closer co-operation The Letter of Intent ensures closer co-operation

Foreign Office minister for the Americas, the Caribbean, and British Overseas Territories, David Rutley, has been quite busy in his areas of influence. At the end of October, he visited Peru to commemorate two hundred years of close relations between Britain and the Andean country. Rutley later travelled to Santiago, where he also had a busy agenda given UK's and the Royal Navy strong alliance with Chile.

In late November, minister Rutley flew to the Falkland Islands to reaffirm UK's support for Falklanders right to self determination and to decide on their future, a much appreciated presence given that in neighboring Argentina, presidential elections had again floated quite aggressively the Falklands/Malvinas sovereignty dispute.

Finally over this last weekend, Rutley and UK Ambassador in Buenos Aires Kirsty Hayes congratulated and met with the new government of president Javier Milei, vice-president Victoria Villarruel and foreign affairs minister Diana Mondino. All this despite the fact that the outgoing government of Cristina Kirchner complained bitterly, and considered offensive the previous presence of minister Rutley in the Falklands.

Nevertheless it has now emerged from the Foreign and Development Office that UK and Chile, as original signatories of the Antarctic Treaty agreed on a Letter of Intent on Antarctic cooperation, 2023/2028, given their shared interest in maintaining Antarctica as a natural reserve dedicated to Peace and Science. The Letter of Intent ensures closer co-operation in the following areas:

1. Bilateral dialogue in Antarctic Affairs

Conscious of the value of reinforcing the existing dialogue between both States in Antarctic affairs, representatives of the Antarctic Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile (DIRANTARTICA) and of the Polar Regions Department of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in the United Kingdom, together with representatives of the Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH) and the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) as appropriate, will meet once (1) a year or sooner if necessary to review issues of mutual interest. These meetings may take place on the margins of the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings (ATCM) or during the sessions of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).

2. Antarctic Treaty System

(a) Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings

Chile and the UK are committed to upholding the principles and values of the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS), as well as assuring the protection of the Antarctic environment. So as to ensure a strong ATS, both States will seek to discuss and collaborate on issues related to the ATCM agenda, including through the presentation of joint initiatives.

(b) Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources

Good governance of the Southern Ocean is a priority for Chile and the United Kingdom, and both States will collaborate to strengthen and develop conservation measures with a view to ensuring the implementation of the objectives of the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.

3. Scientific co-operation

Considering that science is one of the core activities carried out by Chile and the UK on the Antarctic continent and that international collaboration in research activities is of special interest to both States, the Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH) and the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) will explore possibilities of increased collaboration through joint projects, exchanges of researchers, participation in Antarctic expeditions or other means. They may also engage in the margins of the meetings of the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR).

4. Other exchanges

As a means of promoting a greater understanding of each other State’s Antarctic heritage, Chile and the UK will promote cultural and academic exchanges related to Antarctica and Antarctic policy.

SIGNED in Santiago, Republic of Chile on 30 October 2023, in 2 copies in English and Spanish languages, all texts being equally valid.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • imoyaro

    That's one way to fend off “peronchos on ice.”

    Dec 12th, 2023 - 09:05 pm 0
  • Pugol-H

    The ‘countries with a navy and ability to project that far south’ club.

    Argentina being unable to even patrol its 200nml EEZ.

    Dec 13th, 2023 - 01:33 pm 0
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